Enforcing Tolerance

September 2008

In February 2007 Massachusetts federal judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed a lawsuit brought by two sets of parents, David and Tonya Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, whose children attend Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington. The parents' suit claimed that the school violated state law by indoctrinating their children in the homosexual lifestyle. The problems began in 2005 when the Parkers' kindergartner brought home some school-issued "optional reading material" in a "Diversity Book Bag," that included a book titled Who's in a Family? which "depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners," according to WorldNetDaily.com (Feb. 1, 2008). The Wirthlins decided to sue when their second-grader was read the book King and King during class time, a story about two princes who fall in love and get married. (For more on the background of this story, see our New Oxford Note "'Diversity Is the Hallmark of Our Nation,'" Jul.-Aug. 2007.) But Judge Wolf ruled that, under the U.S. Constitution, public schools are "entitled" to teach a­bout homosexuality in a positive way because it is "reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged citizens in our democracy."

Unsatisfied with Wolf's ruling, the Parkers and Wirthlins brought their case before the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston. At the December 2007 hearing, Neil Tasser, a lawyer with Denner Pelligrino LLP, the Boston law firm representing the parents, said, "The parents have never tried to suggest what the school can or cannot teach. All they're seeking is the right to opt out." That right had been denied them by Judge Wolf, a Reagan appointee, who wrote that "an exodus from class when issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage are to be discussed could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students."

Nima Eshgi, one of the attorneys for the school, argued at the December hearing that public schools should "teach tolerance at an early age, inculcate values, serve as a marketplace of ideas and protect the rights of students to receive information."

According to Gail Besse, writing in the National Catholic Register (Dec. 16, 2007), the Parkers "have spent their life savings" defending their right to prevent their son from being indoctrinated in the homosexual lifestyle at Estabrook Elementary.

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New Oxford Notes: September 2008

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It's tough when the people's will is undermined by the courts. If the legislature won't act then the only recourse is to push for vouchers and try to undermine the public school system by setting up an environment that finds the public schools with few students. Unfortunately, the indoctrination by the left under the guise of tolerance and human rights exploits young people that have not reached the age sufficient to be able to understand the school's input and the parents and choose accordingly. As the author says, it results in the child being caught between the two which is not a good thing. You would think that Catholic parents would be more active in fighting these issues both on judges, courts, and schools. If McCain gets in and is successful, he will support vouchers and maybe provide an environment in which states can set up alternative schools that, in the past (as in Florida) have been ruled against by the courts. Posted by: awunsch
September 08, 2008 09:54 PM EDT
I've said it before and I'll say it again - HOMESCHOOL!!!

yes, you can! God will provide. He did for us when we put it in His Hands. There is NO excuse for putting your children in public schools, or for that matter in most Catholic schools. There are two very orthodox truly Roman Catholic schools in the northeast which I highly recommend if you want your kids (boys in this case) to learn how to be Warriors for Christ and Knights of Our Lady. They are:

The Saint Louis de Montfort Academy


Saint Gregory's Academy for Boys
Posted by: gespin3549
September 22, 2008 02:18 PM EDT
This continual slide toward immorality in society is being fed by the entire school system in this country. In addition to the situation here, you have university professors who are hostile to traditional American and Catholic values (e.g. the Minnesota Prof and desecration of the eucharist). In a country based on a judeo-Christian philosophy, why would we want to spend our tax dollars undermining our own country's values? We should push for the legislatures to put the situation in the hands of the parents. If a family selects an elementary school, high school or university, then the money (e.g. $X per student spent by that state), $X goes to the school designated by the family. No funds go directly to any school. Then, perhaps, the schools will teach according to state standards regarding history,science, government and citizenship but otherwise according to it's customers, the families selecting that school. The families in a parish might even be able to eventually pool it's family's funds and maintain a Catholic school. I no longer have children in the school system but am totally disgusted with situations like the MA situation described herein and will no longer be open to public funds for schools. I didn't mention home schooling here but that is another category that should be considered but don't know how to consider it in a same sense as elementary, HS etc. Wouldn't want to see a State discourage home schooling either. Posted by: awunsch
October 02, 2008 10:47 AM EDT
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